To get crushed at the box office isn’t the end of the world for studios and directors, as it may seem. In the hipster era, people are always discovering new movies that may not have performed during their theatrical run, and with Facebook, Twitter and other social media, reaching cult-status can prove a last-ditch hope for studios.
Take “Beavis and Butt-Head” creator Mike Judge’s “Office Space.” The movie barely recouped its tiny production budget of $10 Million, and ended up being a writedown for Fox when you bring in marketing costs. But because of its heroic portrayal of white-collar American workers, “Office Space” received great word-of-mouth in its home video run, and has now sold over 2.6 million copies, compared to only 2.1 tickets sold in tickets.
Essentially, a “cult classic” as they are called, can be one of three things:
-Controversial (e.g. “Fritz the Cat”)
- So bad it’s funny: (e.g. “Starship Troopers”)
-A movie with a unique style/premise (e.g. “Donnie Darko”)
So with those three elements in mind, lets take a look at five potential cult classics from the past five years.
5. The Cabin In The Woods
Though never lacking in cats in cupboards or axe-wielding maniacs, the horror genre has been mighty short on ambition in the past few years. Plenty of filmmakers fancy themselves masters of the art; few filmmakers actively try and advance the genre past the ‘stalk ‘n’ slash’ archetypes from which the foundations of horror are built. Writing duo Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon had larger aspirations than making us jump. And that’s what puts “The Cabin in the Woods” as a frontrunner for cult-status, ahead of every other slasher flick. Its ambition. Naturally, it made less money at the United States box office than “The Three Stooges.”
Sure, there are plenty of low-budget horror movies with concepts so wacky that future cinephiles might buy into them, but they’re all so zany that they’re pretty much indistinguishable. Meanwhile, “The Cabin in the Woods” holds its own, because it’s not just content to be a horror movie, it’s a movie that strives to be all horror movies. Why always a jock, a slut, and a nerd? Why do the characters who have sex have to die? “The Cabin In The Woods” takes good pleasure in trotting out these tired elements with a new spin and a crooked smile
A sprawling, gleeful journey to the heart of the genre, it wasn’t so much a rewriting of the horror rule book as an act of anarchic graffiti, which is why “The Cabin in the Woods” is pretty much destined to become a (cult) classic.
This article was first posted on May 12, 2013